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C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:05 am
by beatz01
Seems like most people at least on here have a i5 or i7 processor combined with 8 GB RAM in their laptops for using ableton.As i'm planning to buy a (used) dedicated Laptop just for making music and money is tight i was wondering if i have to give up my initial plan to buy a >2 GHZ C2D 4GB RAM machine ?

Stuff i produce is going into a glitch/neofunk/electronica direction with only a few audio tracks.

Any opinions would be appreciated, thanks !

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:01 am
by Pitch Black
I have a late 2006 2.33GHz C2D MBP with 4MB of RAM, and a 2010 i5 2.53 dual-core MBP with the same amount of RAM.

My C2D still plays every Live Set I can throw at it (up to 6GB of clips / 250 Scenes x 110 Tracks - no 3rd-party soft synths or FX, but lots of Samplers and Simplers and Live native FX). This used to be my only machine for Live, Logic and VJ'ing up till 6 months ago and it still does everything I ask of it. To be honest I haven't noticed any vast increase in speed, or capabilities of my newer i5, I still use the C2D as the audio machine for many live shows, while the i5 does video.

The C2D is still a perfectly capable machine NOW, but perhaps not so future-proofed for some future huge, processor- and RAM-hungry instruments and FX. If you're mainly working with small-to-medium numbers of audio clips/tracks, and only a few hellacious CPU-hungry plugins, you'll probably be fine.

The other thing to consider in a laptop that old is it's physical condition - my C2D MBP is still just hanging together physically despite 6 years of touring/abuse and a couple of falls, but it will probably suffer some major death before my newer i5 does.

Bottom line? If you can get a C2D in really good physical condition for a good price, it's probably a good buy if you're on a tight budget. It will probably hold you over for a year or two, after which point you might definitely want to upgrade to something faster/more RAM. But again, no real complaints about my current C2D (touch wood!)

HTH

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:45 pm
by störgeräusche
while in the studio i use a powerful i7 / 16 G ram machine for big projects i also use a 2GHZ C2D w/ 2 G ram laptop for couch sessions and smaller projects, i am far from hitting the limits of it. also bought it secind hand when money was thight. if it's a win machine keep it dedicated to music without installing junk and go for it, it still might serve you well for some years. maybe an ssd or hybrid HDD upgrade when you can afford could be a good idea. you can keep the ssd/hybrid for the next machine.

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:18 pm
by eddiex
i used to run live on a C2C 2GHz 4GB RAM macbook. it ran like a BEAST!! i replaced the harddrive with a 2700 rpm hardrive...which also boosted performance. you should be more than fine with that set up.

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:24 pm
by doc holiday
I have a 2.4 C2D santa rosa with 4 GB, last macbook before the uni-bodies.


it runs live like butter. but then again perspective has a lot to do with things and I've been using live for a long time.

that said, this machine still performs like new, It's from 2008. Live 8 has been out for a while tho, we might see 9 floor these machines.

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:14 am
by KrisM
Not useless now, but will be pretty long in the tooth.

I don't want this to devolve into a Mac vs PC debate, but in it's day, my old 2.4GHz C2D MacBook alunimum unibody (what is now called the 13" MacBook Pro) ran circles around the same spec'd Windows laptops running Live (there's a test Live Set around somewhere). This was with 2GB of RAM and a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive. This was before or right around Win7 iirc, which improved a lot of things. Since then that machine has seen a 120GB SSD and 4GB of RAM from OWC, and it's still operational and runs perfectly, no glitches, no quirks, no issues at all from a 4.5 year old notebook.

I only upgraded to my current 2.9GHz i7 MBP because I run Parallels 8 and give my Win7 VM a lot of RAM, so 16GB was needed and the older machine maxes at 8GB (unofficially, officially it's 4GB).

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:10 am
by Zygi
I'm running a C2D 2,4, 8gb ram & SSD macbook from mid 2010 and wiriting "useless" about it is, well, not true. It's a lot more capable than newer windows laptops from supermarkets, thanks to the wonderful OS and hardware optimalisations.

I wouldn't run Diva, or any synth of that format on it, but as a mixing device and a sampler it works okay and probably will for another 10 years :)

In my opinion, the one and only way of getting rid of the issue of dating computers would be buying a multitimbral synth. An old virus or something. It may seem a big investment, but exponentially growing CPU power is as much a pro as it is a con. C'mon. If you go software all the way, you'll end up buying a new computer every 2-3 years in order to fully utilise the capabilities of the newest and the best vst on the market. Cause there will always be another Diva. Bigger, better, etc.

But it's just me, and I still use thinkpad t43 from time to time. Love that brick.

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:13 am
by aleenajoe
I don't think so.... that it is useless...

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:02 am
by Timbeaux
i have had a 2,6 GHZ C2D with 4 GB RAM from HP (Windows 7).

In general there is no problem to use it for sampling and editing. First when u synthesize sounds u will get problems the more plugins or ableton native synths/effects u use. The problem is here that all effects in one signalway go to one core.

Also there can be huge differences between a C2D and a C2D Laptop. This depends on the Motherboard which is built in. If u want to use an extern soundcard (usb/firewire) i would search for "... soundcard problems" on google first before u buy a laptop. Cause i had many problems with my external soundcards on my C2D Laptop. A lot of dropouts and performance issues.

Now i got an i7 and everything works very well and stable.

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:13 pm
by doghouse
It all depends on how many tracks with how many plugs you intend to use and how much track freezing you can live with. I have an XP laptop with a 1.3G Celeron (single core!) and 2GB of RAM that runs Live 8 OK...but I'm not talking about dozens of tracks each with a dozen plugins.

The number of plugins you can use without freezing is really what will limit you on older, slower machines.

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:28 pm
by Luke J Warren (Dj/Producer)
I have an early 2009 Mac Book Pro, with a C2D 2.66Ghz processor and 4 gig of ram and the Live 9 Beta runs beautifully on it. I have finished several tracks since I got the beta two weeks before christmas, and have not experienced a single drop out or glitch. I use a variety of plugins including cpu hungry beasts like Reaktor and uHe Ace/Diva and have no problems, I cant run lots of instances before the cpu maxes out, but more then is necessary for all my production work, and I can always freeze if need be.

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:42 pm
by Pitch Black
Zygi wrote:I wouldn't run Diva, or any synth of that format on it, but as a mixing device and a sampler it works okay and probably will for another 10 years :)
Great observation! That there is the core of the matter IMHO. I used to multitrack and mix full band albums on a 400MHz G4 ten years ago.

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:35 pm
by alexjholland
My 2009 White Macbook C2D with 4Gb of RAM absolutely flies!

I'm using OSX Lion and I've upgraded the hard drive to a 768Gb / 8Gb SSD hybrid, which I couldn't recommend enough!

I produce mainly on my i7/12Gb RAM iMac, but the Macbook plays everything I make so far!

The battery is the main limitation, which lasts two-three hours..

Re: C2D / 4GB RAM Notebooks useless for Ableton ?

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:10 pm
by Datendisco
I have a C2D / 4GB MacBook and it works perfectly for me. Only thing I did was to update the harddrive to SSD - feels like a brand new machine now.
I don't use that much software-synth anymore, but the FX is all software mostly the Ableton FX, some Native Instruments stuff & Vallhalla Reverb.
I think this will work for me at least one or maybe two more years.